Earlier this year, League of Legends studio Riot Games introduced new rules for the game's American pro league. At long last, the North American League Championship Series (NA LCS) will have a permanent roster of ten teams, starting with the 2018 season -- and Riot has just announced who made the cut.
Without further ado, the teams are: 100 Thieves, Cloud9, Clutch Gaming, Counter Logic Gaming, Echo Fox, FlyQuest, Golden Guardians, OpTic Gaming, Team Liquid, and Team SoloMid. While most of those return from this summer's 2017 NA LCS, but pointedly missing is that season's second-place finisher, Immortals. Riot considered each prospective team's strategy, brand and business plans, staffing expertise and 'legacy experience from traditional sports' when deciding which would get a slot in the league, the studio said in a statement.
Regardless, a consistent team roster should positively impact the LCS. Players and coaches will enjoy a lot more stability and investors will be able to fund teams without worrying that poor performance will knock them out of the league. Plus, the other rules accompanying the LCS team list -- like raising minimum player salary from $25,000 to $75,000 and mandating league revenue sharing with its athletes -- are expected to stabilize player careers. That could bring the North American league's performance and prestige up to its European and South Korean counterparts.
As Steve Arhancet, co-CEO of Team Liquid told Engadget back in July:
I think it's a positive step for the NA LCS. I'm hoping it will lead to real prosperity for League of Legends and the wider gaming community. I know some fans may be nervous about the idea of franchising in the LCS, but a secure structure should help team owners, investors, broadcasters and marketers to invest more confidently and it will mean more job security for players.